The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #6967   Message #2455308
Posted By: Jim Dixon
01-Oct-08 - 09:46 PM
Thread Name: Origins: The Mower
Subject: Lyr Add: THE MOWER (from Bodleian)
From the Bodleian Library allegro Catalogue of Ballads,
Harding B 11(1929):


It was one summer's morning on the fourteenth day of May*,
I met a fair maid, she ask'd my trade, I made her this reply:
"For by my occupation I ramble up and down,
With my taring** scythe in order to mow the meadows down."

She said, "My handsome young man, if a mower that you be,
I'll find you some new employment if you will go with me,
For I've a little meadow long kept for you in store.
It was on the dew, I tell you true, it ne'er was cut before."

He said, "My pretty fair maid, if it is as you say,
I'll do my best endeavours in cutting of your hay,
For in your lovely countenance I never saw a frown,
So, my lovely lass, I'll cut your grass, that's ne'er been trampled down."

With courage bold undaunted, she took him to the ground,
With his taring scythe in hand to mow the meadow down.
He mowed from nine till breakfast time, so far beyond his skill,
He was forced to yield and quit the field, for the grass was growing still.

She says, "My handsome young man, you did promise me and say
You'd do your best endeavours in cutting of the hay,
For in my little meadow, you'll ne'er find hills nor rocks,
So I pray, young man, don't leave me, till you see my hay in cocks."

He said, "My pretty fair maid, I can no longer stay,
But I'll go to Newry, in cutting of the hay,
But if I find the grass is cut in the country where I go,
It's then perhaps I may return, your meadow for to mow."

Now her hay being in order, and harvest being all o'er,
This young man's gone and left her sad case for to deplore,
But where he's gone I do not know, so far beyond my skill,
I was forced to yield and quit the field, for grass is growing still.

[*Harding B 25(1275) has "14th of July"—which is a better rhyme.]
[**Some other broadsides have "tarring" or "tearing"]